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Increasing episodes of choking while swallowing, coughing, wheezing. Do you recommend a swallow test?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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Hi. 59yo male with increasing episodes of choking because things have gone down the wrong hole while eating, drinking swallowing, saliva too - he can barely breathe with this occurs and then much coughing and wheezing and burbing for several minutes until he can get a decent breathe in. Do you recommend a swallow test?
Posted Thu, 6 Sep 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later


Thanks for the query

After going through the description I do feel the gentleman could be suffering from either nerve related problems or growth in the upper esophagus.

Both the above mentioned problems are common in this age group. There could be weakness of the Laryngeal nerve innervating the larynx. This causes loss of sensation over the voice box leading to repeated choking and chest infections. The weakness of the nerves could be either due to damage in the brain over the area related to the nerve or growth in the neck pressing the nerve.

Secondly, malignancies are common in this age group which needs to be thoroughly evaluated.

I do not suggest barium swallow test because he can aspirate the barium meal and land up in XXXXXXX trouble. Hence the best choices of investigations are oesophago-gastro-duodenal scopy (OGD scopy), laryngoscopy and MRI of the brain and the neck.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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